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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Leadership in Health Services, Volume 27, Issue 2
I have been thinking about change a great deal lately. It is always easy to think about it when it hits you between the eyes. In my case, my university is changing: two campuses are merging into what I believe is already an overcrowded building. Suddenly all of the faculty have to move offices; facility allocation is not my bailiwick, but now I have to move my possessions to another floor and another space. In addition there is a rumour that the teaching day will lengthen, starting earlier and ending later. While we wait with baited breath to find out how the change is really going to impact us, the rumours abound! I have noticed a tendency to fear the worst which is expressed through gossip, and cynical humour. I believe we have a fairly mature faculty, but nonetheless it does seem that change – thrust upon us – tends to bring out the worst in terms of our interactions. It also increases our stress levels and makes us feel insecure. If this is true of education, then it must be doubly true of health services where the rate of change is enormous.
I remember on one of my first academic trips to the UK, our purpose was to discuss the proposed integration of two hospitals, an old one representing lots of local character and relationships, and another much newer one several miles away, both in a city in the north of England. To the people who first proposed the move, it must have seemed like a no-brainer. "Lets do away with duplication, we can offer much more efficient and better services in the new location." But to the people directly affected, from medical staff to related services, and local residents, such a move has huge ramifications. In the end this particular integration did not go through, but it was my first introduction to change in health services and how much leadership is required to manage it effectively.
As I write this, I am cognizant of the fact that health service continues to faces unprecedented rates of change almost on a daily basis. I recently received interesting notification from an organisation called Fierce Inc., a new leadership and training company. They noted the following:
In an industry that is changing as quickly as healthcare, superb communications and teamwork between staff is critical to maintaining high levels of service. Teamwork (29.8 percent) and problem solving (25.9 percent) were cited as the most desired skills in healthcare administrator colleagues. These attributes improve an organizations ability to manage change, identify areas for improvement, and increase productivity and efficiency.
"The healthcare industry is experiencing unprecedented evolution, and healthcare administrators are the unsung heroes," said Halley Bock, CEO and president of Fierce, Inc. "Healthcare administrators make sure resources are appropriately allocated, bills are paid, and services are provided. Only superior communication and team-building skills will enable these professionals to manage the incredibly dynamic changes that are happening in the industry."
These themes tend to be reflected in the papers included in this issue. From leading change, working internationally, integrative care, the Affordable Care Act, resistance to change, different kinds of leadership, the papers demonstrate the transformational nature of health today as people and organizations struggle to keep up with the never ending demands for better and more cost effective delivery of health service.
Our journal is changing as well. From our previous pattern of five articles per issue, we have now been able to change it to six, or perhaps even more. This is wonderful news for our authors and contributors who wish to see their work published sooner rather than later. It serves to virtually eliminate our waiting list. Thanks to everyone for their contributions. We are delighted to be able to publish your articles and share your knowledge and research.